ESPN: Ranking the Top 25 Players Version 2.0

Ignatius L Hoops

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B1G Ten Players Plus Bueckers


There have been a lot of COVID-19 postponements during the 2020-21 season, but the best players in women's college basketball have persevered. Kentucky's Rhyne Howard continues to headline the ESPN.com midseason top 25 after topping the preseason list. But there are several other changes, including six players that didn't make the November edition. That doesn't mean the players who are now left off have played poorly; they and others might make a case to join the top 25 as we head into March Madness.

These rankings -- as determined by ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel, Graham Hays and Charlie Creme -- reflect the improvements a lot of players have made, despite all the challenges of playing during a pandemic.
6. Paige Bueckers
  • UConn Huskies | G | 5-foot-11 | freshman
  • 2020-21 stats: 18.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.1 APG
When a freshman is leading the Huskies in scoring and Geno Auriemma feels she still isn't shooting enough, something special might be happening. Bueckers has outdone the lofty expectations that she brought with her to Storrs and is already UConn's best player. She leads the team in scoring and assists, and as a point guard is second in rebounding and shooting percentage. Defense is still a work in progress, and the 3.0 turnovers per game are too many, but Bueckers is as polished and well-rounded an offensive player as Auriemma has ever had this early into a career. -- Charlie Creme

9. Caitlin Clark
  • Iowa Hawkeyes | G | 6-foot-0 | freshman
  • 2020-21 stats: 25.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.5 APG
Sure, Clark was the fourth-rated recruit in the 2020 class, but did anyone outside of Iowa City expect this kind of scoring output this soon? Confident in an up-tempo offense perfectly suited to her play-fast style, Clark was Iowa's catalyst from day one with 27 points in her debut. Less than two months into her career, Clark, along with Michigan's Naz Hillmon, is a front-runner for Big Ten player of the year. She has already had four 30-point games and a triple-double, quite a bar for the rest of long career. -- Charlie Creme

11. Naz Hillmon
She assumed the mantle of Kelsey Griffin, Megan Gustafson and other Big Ten frontcourt players responsible for regularly putting up ridiculous numbers. Among those who have played more than three game this season, she ranks in the top 10 nationally in points, rebounds and field goal percentage. She has put up at least 20 points in all but one game and at least 10 rebounds in all but two games. -- Graham Hays

13. Arella Guirantes
She leads Rutgers in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. So there's that. Rutgers is thus far struggling to provide consistent support in Big Ten games, but the guard who could have gone to the WNBA after last season continues to improve her stock. Forget the team leads, she ranks in the top five in the conference in all of the aforementioned statistics -- and she's a more than respectable 12th in the league in rebounding. -- Graham Hays

22. Ashley Owusu
Despite winning Big Ten freshman of the year, Owusu still had something to learn about consistency. She started just half of Maryland's games in 2019-20. Consider the lesson mastered. Owusu is now the catalyst on the second-highest scoring team in the country and has scored in double figures in every Terps game this season. She has become even more important and has played even better since star freshman Angel Reese went down with a foot injury in the fourth game, dropping Maryland to a seven-player rotation. -- Charlie Creme
 
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